Thursday, 16 March 2017

Damn its emulated

The OpenGLES3.1 (or anything else that I can tell) is not runnong on the GPU, its all being emulated a the moment, I guess we have to wait for a version of the os with proper libs in it.

But even so, I expect these to come on line and its sitll possible to code in 3.1 albeit slowly.
So yeahhhh but, only lower case for now.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Got one.

Yeah I got my Tinkerboard at last. It is a very nice clean and tidy board,

After a bit of hunting following the ghost launch I managed to locate one in Germany, but it seems the supply is starting to ramp up and they are now flowing into the market.

The support site is still generation 1 and nothing by way of a community, but I was able to locate and download Debian. Sadly at work, using a Pi power unit it refused to boot, however once home with the same image and a beefier PSU it fired up in no time. It is nippy and responsive on the desktop, and after enabling its auto network, it went on line and happily performed and update/upgrade

It is a no frills standard Debian, it resized my sd card itself, and logged in to a sparse gui with nothing notable to report, except for one amazing features. It has OpenGLES3.1 libs on board. I’ve not had a chance to try them out yet, as I’m a bit busy but if this is indeed a properly implemented OpenGLES3.1 system, its hands down going to beat almost all the other SBC’s out there. I still want to see 3.2 on this thing though since ARM's site confirmed the 760 series are 3.2 capable

CPU gets mighty hot, so don’t try to run it without the heat sink, and as I say it needs a good power unit.

So far so good. I can’t wait to get programming some OpenGLES3.1 on it and see what it can really do. Sadly I just don't have time at the moment as I'm rushing to finish the book, but there are a few proejcts that will need testing on a non Pi machine... I wonder which ones I might use :D

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Editing begins and Tinkerboard on way

so while I am still doing some code fixes , I have finally made a start on the 1st edit of the book. There was/is a fair amount of repetition of some concepts, and some things I can easily hive off to the support site. So pretty sure I can lop a fair chunk of pages of the current 860 total.

Most projects are starting to firm up now, only thing giving me big headaches are systems that need internal environments, its a complex subject to discuss, even more complex to write about but hopefully the demo's I'm putting together will demosntrate it.

I also managed to find a site in Germany that had stock of Tinkerboards, I am very excited about this board, more than any other due to the potential for mass market it has. Its still rather poorly set up, but its only the 1st generation. Can't wait to report on it when it arrives

And I am really pleased to report a lot of my students have been having a really good time with RPi and developing some concepts I outline in the book, especially the use of MD2 models and OBJ environments, which will allow for a lot of fun complex games with animation.

Here's a screenshot of one of my students projects using an internet sourced MD2 based animated model and a Mario world backdrop, its kind of a funky mash up but so nice to see what they can put together.its a shame I can't grab video from the Pi, seeing a model animate and move around an enviorment so smooth is really sweet.

Friday, 10 March 2017

So behind...but moving on now

Arrh tech issues, the bane of any coders life. I've had a few.
Book writing is going fine, book coding has been hitting bottle necks right left and centre, the worst of them being an instability in Visual GDB's debugger. It just became impossible to debug code as every break or single step would cause a network freeze.

It took a bit of hunting down but I finally found it, the Rasbian version of GDB is outdated and Visual GDB causes it to crash sometimes.... which is a pain.... You might expect the VisualGDB people to fix that but they don't accept responsibility for 3rd party issues...which is kinda understandable but frustrating.

Anyway, after much research, and digging into Linux (uggg I feel dirty) I worked out that replacing the GDB on the Raspberry cures the problem totally, its not an easy fix but it worked.

I now have a fully functioning debugger again. yeahh

And here's a screen show of an alien armada to celebrate.

I've also got MD2 animated models working and shadow and light systems all working, these were the tricky techy bits I really needed the debugger for, and now that they are done I can kinda forget about them and get back to the simple game

There are still lots of strange tech issues, why is the frame rate locked at 60fps for example, making delta time useless..but I'm asking around and will get the answers.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Where'd it go?

Well the Tinker Board seems to be suffering from a serious case of premature release. The lack of support has caught Asus out and I hear that very few people have managed to get their boards up and running.
The only supplier in Europe I know of has now withdrawn it from their catalogue.

I do hope that does not sink the chances of this very promising board, I will keep my eyes open for it

Book news....
not had any for some time have we, vurrentl y 825 pages, it was upp to 900 but I edited it down a bit. Its coming to an end (again), a couple of projects have proven to be harder to document than I expected, and I had to cut the scope of them down quite a bit but its coming

I'm due to hand over at the end of Feb, I don't think there's a real chance of that, which might annoy the publisher who's been incredibly support over my delays but I am pushing my luck now. But I do think it will be done next month (mid March), so hopefully I can post some screen shots and pics of the projects soon..

But to writing.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Asus Tinkerboard, a new dawn for SBC's?

Sorry to have been quiet for so long, been both working on the book and recovering from illness which in turn caused delay in the book, which in turn meant trying to catch up on the work....I'm falling very behind and have had a few extensions to my deadline but am doing my very best to get back into the groove again.

But I had to post something about this beast

This ordinary looking board may just be the most important new SBC ever released, for 2 important reasons,
1st, its from ASUS, one of the very biggest commercial electronic makers, these guys do everything from full Mother boards to tablets to Video cards...and video cards is kinda interesting.

Their release of an RX3288 power credit card board with a very soft and unheralded launch might mean they are checking out the market.

2nd the use of the RX3288 is in itself interesting, yes its 32bit, but its a very fast 32bit, More than capable of showing a Pi or even an Odroid its clean heels. But it won't be the outright champ, there are a few faster CPU's,
However it is running a Mali 760 series GPU....4 cores.  In theory...that means its capable of running OpenGLES3.2 making it the 1st sub $100 board to be so empowered.

If they are also able to use their experience of video cards to provide full drivers for this board, it will make this the most powerful SBC board available on the market if you are planning to do graphic applications, some of the 64bits will out pace the CPU, but none currently come close to a 760 series GPU.

The launch has been incredibly low key, only 1 supplier in the UK, and sadly they sold out before I could get one. What info I can find so far suggests that they don't really have the software side sorted out, and images are basic, and tellingly lacking in OpenGLES3.2 (or any) drivers....
But I hope that this takes off. If it does we might see all the other makes move up a level in GPU performance and might also see people taking more interest in coding graphically.

I'll let you know when I get my hands on one.

Back to the book

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Orange Pi PC2

An interesting up grade to the Orange Pi PC, which is a nice little board but a hot runner. It is also one of the few clone boards that has a very active community, so this latest release is bound to interest a lot of people.
I ordered mine the day it was annoounced, and it arrived today, no import charges either so all round if this works fine its a bargain of a machine. I am wondering if I have the 1st in The Netherlands....maybe, maybe not
But even if I have, I can't use it at the moment, only the Android img is currently available, so can't really use it for book development, and as the book is very close to being done I don't want to get distracted trying out clone images to see if I can get it to work. I'll install android to see what it does, but back in the box it goes till I'm ready to give it a proper play